.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

That's an Excellent Question: Hairies, Zeroes, Multis, Micro and Rub Skis?
By:  Craig Storey   (2009/03/09)



I bought a pair of Atomic Multis a while ago, still haven't had a chance to try them. Imagine wishing for warmer weather as a skier!

What's the latest theories on producing the hairy part, i.e. direction of sanding etc. and also, what sort of temp and snow range can they be used for? Thanks for any info you could supply,


Hi D.L.,

These days every ski manufacture makes a "rub" ski - Atomic Multis, Fischer Zeros, Salomon Zero, Rossignol C2 Ar, Madshus Zero. Not to be confused with fishscale skis these are claasic skis that don't require wax, but rather that you rub the kick-zone to create micro sized hairs that are used for grip. These hairs have been nicknamed "hairies", as had the skis until recently when the term "rub skis" came into fashion. Most of these new skis have a specail material that creates hairs more easily in-layed in the skis kick zone. But, you can also make hairies on regular classic skis, just as you can wax your rub skis.

Honestly I don't know that much about hairies. I've only actually raced on them twice in my life. And see how I've lived maninly in Northern Ontario where winter temperatures are conducive to hard wax I just skate when the weather would require hairies. Skiers in Southern Ontario, B.C. and the Maritimes on the other hand have to spend a lot more time getting their hands sticky with klister or making hairies if they want to classic.

I'd suggest reading..

Basically you will encounter conditions for hairies when the air temperature is hovering just above or below zero, but really it's all about the type of snow. It should be fresh fallen and wet, possibly mixed with dry and you will probably notice glazing tracks. A sure sign to try them is when hard wax and klister aren't working and you see people walking on stilts shaped like skis. There are a limited number of days per season in Ottawa when hairies will work, but when those days come around you'll be smiling if you can make them!

The most common ways to make hairies are with an abrader or sand paper. With 50-80 grit sand paper you rub in little circles of ~3cm diameter, carefully looking for hairs to appear. This can take some work, and a lot of practice. Another method that apparently worked well at Callaghan Valley (Whistler Olympic Park) last year was to use an random orbital sander. Turns out the crazy randomness of the tools sanding pattern makes great hairies.

Once the hairs are created you will want to protect them with silicone spray, hairspray or similar products. Hair spray?? Yeah, you want those little hairs to stand up straight and not break off and I think that's what hair spray is for, right? Don't laugh one of the best races of my life was on hairspray! Also you want the hairs to be smooth and not cause icing...again I think hair spray claims to "add volume and make hair shiny" which would probably help. I'd also buy the hairspray that says "all day hold" and see if it's true!

That's only 3 of the 15 methods Zach has probably tried, so best to experiment a bit. Hope that helps, but I also hope you don't have to use them for a long time yet! (Too late)

Interesting Reading. . .
Interested in supporting XC Ottawa or advertising on our site? Email: info@xcottawa.ca.
Copyright 2001-2006, www.xcottawa.ca. All Rights Reserved. Contact us before re-publishing anything seen here.